Have you ever looked at someone brimming with confidence and wondered, “How do they do it?” Maybe you feel like confidence is something you either have or you don’t. I know the feeling.

After 15 years in an abusive marriage, my self-worth was shattered. I felt isolated, worthless, and completely terrified to navigate the world alone, especially with five small children depending on me. The thought of starting over felt impossible.

But something within me refused to give up. A tiny ember of hope remained, even amidst the ashes of my life. Slowly, step by step, I began to rebuild my confidence. It was a journey filled with setbacks and tears, but also moments of triumph that proved I was stronger than I ever knew.

If you’re starting from a place of self-doubt, know this: confidence is a skill, not a personality trait. It’s built through action, self-compassion, and a willingness to step outside your comfort zone. Here are 5 proven strategies to guide you:

  1. The Power of Tiny Victories

Unshakeable confidence isn’t built overnight. It’s a journey of consistent, incremental progress. Think of it as a muscle – you wouldn’t start running a marathon without training. You’d begin with less than a mile run and build it up slowly over the year towards the run up to the final date.

Building self-confidence follows the same principle. Instead of setting yourself up for failure with grandiose goals, start small. Embrace the power of tiny victories.

What are tiny victories? They’re the little things you accomplish each day that build a sense of competence and control. It might be:

Each of these seemingly small actions sends a powerful message to your brain:

“I can do this. I’m capable. I’m in charge of my life.”

Over time, these small wins accumulate, creating a snowball effect of positive momentum and reinforcing your belief in yourself.

Think of it as a self-fulfilling prophecy. When you consistently achieve small goals, you begin to see yourself as someone who is capable of achieving bigger and bolder goals. This is the essence of self-efficacy – the belief in your ability to succeed.

Every journey begins with a single step. Don’t underestimate the power of those small steps. They lay the groundwork for a solid foundation of confidence, paving the way for a future where you feel empowered to take on any challenge that comes your way.

Action Step:

Choose one small action you can commit to completing each day for the next week. It could be something from the list above, or something else that feels personally meaningful. Celebrate yourself each time you follow through – you’re building the momentum for a more confident, empowered you!

2. Take Control of Your Inner Dialogue

That constant chatter in your mind? The one that whispers doubts, fears, and harsh judgments? You know, the one that says, “Who are you to start a business?” or “You’ll never be as successful as her.”

That’s your inner critic, and it’s a master manipulator, expert at distorting your reality and keeping you stuck.

This voice isn’t some objective truth-teller. It’s a combination of past experiences, societal programming, and those limiting beliefs we talked about earlier. It’s the voice of fear, dressed up in the familiar tone of your own thoughts.

You don’t have to let that voice control you. You have the power to challenge it, to rewrite the narrative, and to create a new, more supportive internal dialogue. Here’s how:

Start paying close attention to your thoughts. What’s the running commentary in your head, especially when you’re facing a challenge or stepping outside your comfort zone? Notice the words, the tone, and the emotions that arise.

Don’t just let those thoughts swirl around in your mind. Put them on paper (or in a notes app). Seeing them in black and white makes them tangible, and therefore, easier to challenge.

Once you’ve identified those negative thoughts, ask yourself: Is this really true? What evidence do I have to support or refute this belief?

For example, if the thought is, “I’m not smart enough to run a business,” counter it with examples of times you’ve solved problems, learned new skills, or navigated complex situations.

Replace the negative self-talk with empowering affirmations. Instead of “I’m not good enough,” try “I am capable and resourceful.” Instead of “I’ll never succeed,” affirm “I am learning and growing, and I’m on my way to achieving my goals.”

Every victory, no matter how small, is a testament to your strength and resilience. Keep a journal of your accomplishments and refer to it when those negative thoughts start to creep in. Remind yourself of all you’ve already achieved, and use those successes as fuel for your next challenge.

Talk to a trusted friend, mentor, or coach. Share your struggles with self-doubt and negative self-talk. They can offer a different perspective, challenge your assumptions, and help you build a stronger sense of self-belief.

Remember, your thoughts have power. By actively choosing to challenge your inner critic and replace those negative thoughts with empowering ones, you can transform your mindset and unleash the confident, unstoppable woman within you.

3. Volunteer Your Time and Talents

When you’re feeling stuck in a rut, focusing on others can be a surprising antidote to self-doubt. It’s a chance to step outside your own head, reconnect with your values, and make a tangible difference in the world.

Think of it this way: You have unique skills and experiences that are valuable to others. By volunteering your time and expertise, you’re not just “giving back,” you’re also building confidence in your abilities. Each time you apply your skills to help someone else, you reinforce the fact that you have something valuable to offer.

Where to Start:

Align with Your Values.

What causes are you passionate about?

Do you care about women’s empowerment, education, environmental issues, or something else?

Find an organisation whose mission resonates with you.

Leverage Your Strengths: Are you a skilled communicator, organiser, or problem-solver?

Look for volunteer opportunities that use your existing talents.

This can be especially helpful if you’re exploring a career change and want to gain experience in a new field.

Don’t feel obligated to take on a huge commitment right away. Even a few hours a month can make a significant impact.

Many charities and non-profits in London are always seeking volunteers.

Research opportunities in your area, or consider online volunteering if that’s a better fit for your schedule.

Here are a few ideas tailored to Olivia’s interests and background:

If you have experience in business or leadership, consider mentoring a young woman starting her career or an aspiring entrepreneur. Share your knowledge and insights to empower others.

Skills-Based Volunteering: If you’re a writer, offer to help a charity with their marketing materials. If you have financial expertise, volunteer your services to a non-profit organisation.

Get involved with groups that support women’s empowerment, education, or sustainability initiatives. This can help you build a network of like-minded individuals and create a sense of community.

Volunteering can be a powerful catalyst for personal and professional growth. It not only boosts your confidence and self-esteem, but it also allows you to make a meaningful impact in the world.

4. Be Prepared:

Fear feeds on the unknown. When faced with uncertainty, our minds conjure up worst-case scenarios, and that inner critic starts shouting even louder. But when you arm yourself with knowledge and preparation, you’re building a fortress against that fear.

The more prepared you are, the more confident you’ll feel stepping into new situations and making bold decisions. This applies to every aspect of your career transition:

Job Interviews: Research the company culture, values, and recent news. Practice answering common interview questions, tailoring your responses to highlight your strengths and experience.

Networking Events: Identify key people you want to connect with, have a concise elevator pitch ready, and brainstorm conversation starters.

Client Presentations: Anticipate potential questions and objections, and have clear, concise answers prepared. Practice your delivery to ensure a smooth and confident presentation.

Launching Your Business: Create a detailed business plan, research your target market, and develop a solid marketing strategy. The more thoroughly you’ve thought through the details, the more confident you’ll feel taking that leap.

Skill Development: If your career change involves learning new skills, invest time in courses, workshops, or certifications. Building your expertise will boost your confidence and make you more marketable.

Don’t confuse preparation with perfectionism. The goal isn’t to know absolutely everything (that’s impossible), but to have enough knowledge to feel comfortable taking that first step.

Imagine yourself walking into a job interview having thoroughly researched the company and practiced your answers. Imagine pitching your business idea with a well-crafted presentation that you’ve rehearsed numerous times.

Imagine launching your website knowing you’ve done the necessary market research and have a solid plan in place.

These scenarios create a sense of control and reduce the fear of the unknown. The more you prepare, the more you’ll trust in your ability to navigate whatever comes your way. Remember, knowledge is power. And when you wield that power, your confidence will soar.

5. Set a Small Goal and Achieve It:

Remember those small wins we talked about earlier? They’re not just about checking tasks off your to-do list; they’re about building the confidence and momentum that fuels bigger leaps.

Think of it like this: each time you set a small goal and achieve it, you’re sending a powerful message to your brain – “I can do hard things. I can follow through. I am capable of success.”

So, what does a “small goal” look like in the context of a career change? It’s not about overnight transformations, but about taking those first, intentional steps towards your vision.

For you, this might mean:

Researching your dream job: Spend an hour each day for a week digging into companies you admire, roles that align with your values, and the skills needed to get there.

Updating your LinkedIn profile: Spend a dedicated afternoon crafting a compelling headline and summary that highlights your unique experience and aspirations.

Networking with intention: Identify three people in your desired field and send them a personalised message, asking for a brief informational interview.

Launching a side hustle: Don’t overthink it. Start with the simplest version of your business idea – offer a free consultation, create a basic website, or share your expertise on social media.

Investing in your education: Enrol in a course or workshop to gain a new skill or deepen your knowledge in a specific area.

Remember, these small goals are just the beginning. As you gain momentum and experience success, you’ll feel more confident tackling larger challenges.

The key is to choose goals that are:

Specific: Clearly define what you want to achieve. Instead of “network more,” try “attend two networking events this month.”

Measurable: Track your progress. This could involve using a planner, a habit tracker app, or simply checking things off a list.

Achievable: Set yourself up for success by starting with goals that feel challenging but doable.

Relevant: Choose goals that align with your larger vision and values.

Time-Bound: Give yourself a deadline to create a sense of urgency and motivation.

Celebrate every win, no matter how small it might seem. These successes build self-trust and pave the way for the bigger leaps you’ll take on your journey to a more fulfilling career.

Embrace the Journey of Transformation

I won’t sugarcoat it – the road to confidence can be challenging. It requires confronting those deep-seated beliefs that tell you you’re not enough. It takes patience and consistent effort to break free from ingrained patterns of self-doubt.

I understand the struggle firsthand. For years, I felt like I was chasing a mirage, my dreams always one step out of reach. Despite outward success, my past experiences—a childhood marred by colourism and emotional neglect—had left me with a gnawing sense of insecurity and a relentless inner critic.

I’ve walked through fire. It took me years of hard work, therapy, coaching, and a relentless pursuit of healing to rewire my own negative thought patterns. I had to rebuild my self-worth from the ground up, brick by brick, proving to myself that I was capable, deserving, and worthy of success.

But here’s the good news: If I can do it, so can you. I’m living proof that transformation is possible.

The journey may not be easy, but it’s incredibly rewarding. It’s about discovering your own strength, your own voice, and your own path to a fulfilling life and career.

If you’re ready to ditch self-doubt, silence your inner critic, and step into a life of confidence and purpose, I’m here to guide you. Let’s explore those hidden beliefs that have been holding you back.

Let’s create a strategy to overcome them, one step at a time. And let’s celebrate your victories along the way, no matter how small they may seem.

I’m here to tell you that your dreams are valid, your goals are achievable, and you have the power within you to create the life you desire.

Ready to take the first step? Book a free discovery call today, and let’s start building your confidence together. Your transformation awaits!

References:

Join a Board – Elevate Network

NCVO – Volunteering Opportunities

Reach Volunteering – Search for volunteering opportunities

One Million Mentors – Become a mentor

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